Lane and Japan on the cusp of history

No jockey has ever ridden the winner of the Victorian spring Group 1 treble in one season of the Caulfield Cup, WS Cox Plate.

MER DE GLACE winning the Niigata Daishoten in Niigata, Japan.
MER DE GLACE winning the Niigata Daishoten in Niigata, Japan. Picture: Japan Racing Association

The Melbourne Cup and Damien Lane is on the cusp of completing the historic feat on Tuesday with the full backing  of the market behind his Cup runner Mer De Glace  (JPN).

Mer De Glace is the TAB favourite after opening at $8.00 into $6.50 and out to $7.00 by Monday afternoon ahead of the Chris Waller trained Finche (GB) at $8.00.

Not only would Lane create history should he win, it would create history for Japan with Mer De Glace winning the Caulfield Cup under Lane, Lys Gracieux (JPN) won the Cox Plate under Lane and now for the final leg in the Melbourne Cup.

Lane though is not feeling neither nervous nor the pressure.

"Pretty good still. It will be (an achievement), but what will be will be. It is not going to change how I ride or how the horse runs," he said.

The spring success of Lane in Victoria had its beginnings back in Japan over the northern summer where he rode on a successful JRA contract that including winning on both Mer De Glace and Lys Gracieux.

"There was talk that Mer De Glace might come out, the talk about Lys Gracieux was not until I had come home. I was confident that if the horses came out I would get the support," he said.

"It was certainly one of the reasons I went, but I did not think it would have an immediate effect that it has, but I certainly wanted to ride their horses giving me an option of getting on them down the track if they travelled.

"I really enjoyed it, I learnt a lot, not only the track, but off the track it was a new experience again so it was good" he said.

Lane's success has not been just in Japan this year. He is currently second to Damien Oliver on the Victorian Metropolitan Premiership with 16 winners to Oliver's 18 and his major wins during the year have included the Group 1 Golden Slipper with Godolphin's Kiamichi.

"I could not have imagined to have had such a good year, just to compete in the Grand Slams is a great thrill," he said.

He is confident that the success will continue although conceding that the 3200m was still a test for Mer De Glace.

"It is a  big question mark but I think he will run it out," he said

"Just to ride in a Melbourne Cup after being a racing fan from such a young age, so to have a live hope tomorrow is a big thrill."

Mer De Glace, a five-year-old Rulership entire, is on a remarkable six race winning streak that began back in December last year. His Caulfield Cup win was by 1L with 55.5kg over Vow And Declare with 52kg and Mirage Dancer (GB) with 56kg. On Tuesday he carries 56kg with barrier two.

The Melbourne Cup is Race 7 on the ten race programme at 3.00pm.

Note - By late Monday afternoon Mer De Glace is out to $8.00 as now equal favourite with Finche (GB)


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